The Adventure

When Kevin, Gary, Will, Saskia and Christel set off on a caving expedition, little do they know what adventures and misadventures will befall them...

Based on the computer game "Adventure" by Bill Crowther, Don Woods and Mike Arnoutov.

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2. Chapter Two

Saskia looked around her. She was back in the building. How had she got there, she wondered. Ah yes, the magic word. What was it? XYZZY, wasn’t it. If she said it again, would it return her to the cave? She knew her friends would be worried about her. “XYZZY”, she muttered and reappeared in the cave she had just left.

“You had us worried then,” said Will.

“It’s some sort of teleportation spell,” Saskia explained. “Takes you back to the building.”

“That’ll be useful,” thought Christel under her breath. It would save getting her feet wet again in the stream on the way back. Assuming that they had dried by then, of course…

They followed the canyon westwards into a splendid chamber thirty feet high where the walls were frozen rivers of orange stone. A cheerful little bird sat on the floor of the chamber, singing.

“Hello, what are you doing here?” Saskia asked it, bending down.

“Coal miners used to take canaries down the mines to check for gas,” said Gary. “If the canary was overcome by the fumes it was time for the miners to get out.”

“There was a bird cage back there,” Will suggested. “If you guys don’t mind waiting here in the dark a minute or so I’ll go back and get it. We can bring the bird with us in case there is any gas.”

“I’ll come with you,” said Christel. “I don’t want to stay in this creepy cave in the dark.”

They disappeared and returned shortly carrying the cage, but their attempts to catch the bird were futile.

“I think the rod’s scaring it,” Saskia observed, taking the rod to the far side of the chamber. The bird calmed down and hopped into its cage quite happily. The passage led onwards and ended at a small pit breathing traces of white mist. Rough stone steps led down the pit.

“Is that gas?” asked Christel, worried.

“I don’t think so,” Will replied, checking the bird. “Our little friend seems happy enough. Probably just mist.”

Will had barely finished speaking when an axe whizzed past his nose and embedded itself into the wall of the canyon, followed by a muttered curse. Turning to see where the axe had come from, the four adventurers saw a white haired dwarf scurrying away along the passageway.

“Pleasant fellow,” commented Gary.

“I don’t think he wants us to be here,” Will added.

“Can we go back?” Christel said. “I don’t want an axe burying in my skull, thank you very much.”

Will pulled the axe out of the canyon wall as a defensive weapon in case the dwarf came back. “If you don’t stop complaining I’ll bury one in there myself,” he said grimly, and began to descend the stairs. The others followed and entered into the east end of a large hall full of mist. The stairs continued downwards and there was a small chamber to the south. They entered the chamber and gasped in awe at a large gold nugget that dominated the room.

“That thing must be worth a fortune,” Will observed.

“Several million at today’s prices,” agreed Gary.

“There’s a note attached to the wall,” said Saskia, reading it. “You’ll never get it up the stairs. What in heck does that mean?”

With an effort, Gary picked the nugget up and they retraced their steps to the Hall of Mists.

“The stairs have gone!” Christel moaned. “Now how are we supposed to get out?” The others looked. The stairs down which they had come had indeed vanished.

“That must be what the note meant,” Saskia thought. “What happens if you put the nugget down, Gary?” Gary put the nugget down and the stairs reappeared, but when he picked it back up, they vanished again.

“This is ridiculous,” said Christel. “Let’s just forget the stupid nugget and go home!”

“Are you crazy?” asked Will. “Leave something that valuable behind? Maybe there’s another way out.”

They walked along the hall but were stopped by a fissure spanning the width of the hall, and which appeared to be the source of the mist.

“It’s too wide to jump,” said Gary. Looks as if it’s as far as we can go this way.”

They retraced their steps back to the end of the hall and followed the downward staircase instead. They found themselves in another large hall. Exits led in several directions, but all were barred by a huge green snake, hissing angrily.

“Guess we’d better drop the nugget and go back the way we came then,” said Christel, turning to go back. “That snake looks hungry to me and I don’t want to be its lunch.”

“Maybe we can feed it something else,” said Gary. “Lots of snakes eat birds.”

“Worth a try,” said Will, extracting the bird from the cage.

“You can’t do that!” Saskia protested, alarmed as Will proffered the bird to the snake. To everyone’s surprise, at the first hint of freedom, the bird attacked the snake, and in a flurry of wings, chased it from the room. The adventurers headed westwards and arrived in another chamber where rare coins littered the floor.

“They must be worth a bit, too,” Will said, stuffing them into his pockets as they continued on their way and emerged at a crossroads where passageways ran to all four points of the compass, though further exploration showed those to the north and west to be blocked. The passage to the south emerged into the west end of yet another large hall, then continued south as a much smaller passage, which they followed. They were now in a maze of twisty little passages, all different, and soon had become completely lost. Each little twisting passage of the twisting maze of little passages twisted a little differently to the last twisting little passage.

“This certainly is a twisty little maze of passages,” Gary observed, as the little twisty passage they were following twisted a little to the left.

 “I’m sure we’ll never get out,” Christel whined

“I’m sure we will,” Saskia tried to reassure her. Eventually they found their way out of the little maze of twisting passages and arrived back in the hall they had left.

“That’s certainly given me a thirst,” Will commented, taking a swig from the bottle and passing it round. Christel drained it and was about to discard the empty bottle when Will stopped her.

“That stream we followed probably flows through the caves somewhere. If we find the stream, we can refill the bottle and keep exploring.” Christel groaned inwardly as they set off again to explore the hall they were now in. An eastward passage led them into the mist-filled hall again, on the opposite side of the fissure to where they had been before.

“Wow!” said Saskia. Diamonds glistened on the floor.

“Pick 'em up if you want to,” said Gary. Saskia smiled and she and Christel picked them up. They retraced their steps to the room the snake had been and headed north, crossing an east-west passage. Bars of silver lay on the ground but they could carry no more, so continued northwards and arrived in a large room, with a passage to the west and a wall of broken rock to the east. There was a large "Y2" on a rock in the room's centre. A hollow voice said “Plugh”.

“Who said that?” Saskia asked, “and what does Plugh…” She was about to ask “What does ‘Plugh’ mean?” when she disappeared again.

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